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Pavarotti to sing on behalf of Angolan refugee children

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Pavarotti to sing on behalf of Angolan refugee children

21 March 2002

Geneva - The income from this year's annual charity concert by the renowned Italian tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, will benefit Angolan refugee children in Zambia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said today.

Pavarotti, who is United Nations Messenger of Peace, had already helped the UN refugee agency raise millions of dollars. Last year's "Pavarotti and Friends" charity concert in Modena, Italy, raised US$ 1,500,000 for Afghan refugee children in Pakistan. The 1999 concert collected one million dollars for Kosovo refugees. Last year, Pavarotti won the Nansen Refugee Award for his efforts to raise funds on behalf of refugees.

"We are thankful to Maestro Pavarotti for his decision to help Angolan refugee children in Zambia" said High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers. "The concert will help to give thousands of children a somewhat brighter future," he added.

This year's Modena concert will be held on May 28, 2002. As in previous years, Pavarotti will be joined on stage by some of the world's top international performers.

Pavarotti said he decided to raise money for Angolan refugee children to remind the world of the plight of people affected by one of Africa's most forgotten and its longest-running and deadliest civil wars. UNHCR says the money raised by the Modena concert will go mostly to health and education projects for Angolan refugee children in neighbouring Zambia.

More than 27 years of civil war in Angola have devastated the vast African country and forced millions to abandon their homes. According to UN estimates, around 4.5 million Angolans - over a third of the country's entire population - are internally displaced, while another 450,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, mostly to Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.